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Tyree Jackson intrigues as potential Lions developmental QB

The Detroit Lions are in real need for a young No. 2 quarterback to groom and develop behind Matthew Stafford. This week’s Senior Bowl practice sessions here in Mobile confirmed what game tape revealed.

Tyree Jackson from Buffalo is a great candidate for that role.

Jackson is a Michigan native, a graduate of Mona Shores HS in Muskegon. He was a bit of an athletic late-bloomer with his physique, though even in high school he had the cannon of a right arm.

Oh, that arm!

Jackson not only has the biggest arm in this draft class, but he might also enter the NFL with the biggest arm in the league. Both on game tape (see the Akron game) and here in Mobile, Jackson uncorked deep throws with sizzling velocity while rolling to his left. His long wingspan and strong shoulder allow the 6-7, 245-pounder to get crazy zip and accuracy on throws even without a wide platform, which is uncommon for taller QBs.

Controlling that rocket launcher is the biggest reason why the humble Jackson is a middle-round developmental prospect. He completed just 55 percent of his passes in his final season for the Bulls, down from 60 the prior year. His shorter throws often lack touch, and he loses accuracy when he takes something off the fastball.

That was evident in Tuesday’s practice session. Working with unfamiliar receivers on a windy, misty day, Jackson seemed like he held back on some shorter throws and it impacted his ball placement. On a sunny Thursday practice and with two days of work with his crew, he was much better, notably in a red zone drill.

It’s that kind of growth potential and tantalizing arm talent that makes Jackson so attractive. He graduated early to qualify for the Senior Bowl, too.

For a team like the Lions who don’t need him to play for a year or two, Jackson’s correctable flaws aren’t as much of an obstacle as they would be for a team looking for an immediate starter or contributor. He currently projects as a third-to-fifth round prospect. The NFL Scouting Combine in February will help sort out where in that broad range Jackson winds up.

You can watch Jackson and the rest of the South team take on the North in the Senior Bowl on Saturday at 2:30 ET on the NFL Network.

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